Step away from the canned tomato sauce, step away! Mastering your own homemade meat sauce for spaghetti is an accomplishment so satisfying, we can’t even put it into words! The key to this sauce is using fresh ingredients and then letting it simmer low and slow to meld the flavors.
Simple Homemade Spaghetti Recipe
Makes: 6-8 servings
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
½ cup white wine or stock
1 (28oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 (16oz.) can tomato sauce
1 (6oz.) can tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley + more for serving
3 tablespoons fresh shaved parmesan + more for serving
1 lb. Spaghetti cooked al dente and tossed with olive oil*
In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef until completely brown with no pink visible. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard any grease but do not clean out the pan. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon olive oil and add the onions and bell pepper. Stir for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble up and reduce, about 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Stir to combine then add oregano, basil, sugar, salt and black pepper. Give it a good stir then add back in the ground beef. Cover the pot and allow to simmer for 1 hour, giving it a stir every so often. If it becomes too thick, add a bit of stock or water. After an hour add in 3 tablespoons of parsley and 3 tablespoons of parmesan. Stir and cover again for 30 minutes. Serve sauce alongside al dente spaghetti noodles that have been tossed with olive oil, as well as some extra parmesan and extra chopped parsley.
*Note – to make perfectly cooked spaghetti noodles, fill a large pot (8 or 12 quarts) with water, making sure it’s full enough that the pasta can be fully submerged. You want 5-6 quarts of water for a standard package of pasta. Then add at least a tablespoon of salt. Bring the salted water to a full, roiling boil. This means big big bubbles. Add in the pasta and stick with it, giving it a stir several times while cooking to avoid clumps.
Check your pasta packaging for timing and check for doneness about 2 minutes before the recommended time. To check it, use a slotted spoon to pull out a single piece of pasta, let it cool, then give it a try. You want it to be springy and chewy, but not too chewy and not overcooked to the point of mush. Once it’s got that springy mouthfeel, drain and stir with olive oil to keep from sticking until you are ready to serve.